Safestore First Quarter Trading Update
13th February 2020
· Group revenue for the quarter up 8.3% and 7.3% at actual exchange rates as a result of strengthening of sterling in period.
· Like for like Group revenue for the quarter up 5.9%
· Like for like occupancy up 2.8% at 75.0%.
· Like for like average rate up 0.8%/.
· Total rate down 0.6% as a result of dilutive impact of recent Barcelona acquisition.
· Planning permission granted for Paris Magenta store, anticipated opening in 2020.
· 40,000 sq ft freehold store in London Carshalton opened in period.
· Recent store openings and acquisitions performing in line with or ahead of business plans.
Frederic Vecchioli, Chief Executive Officer commented:
"It has been a pleasing start to the financial year. Our first quarter performance has been strong, driven by our core markets of the UK and Paris together with our recent acquisitions in London and Barcelona, as well as our Netherlands JV, performing in line with or ahead of their business plans.
Our recently opened developments in the UK in Birmingham Merry Hill and Peterborough are performing well and our London Carshalton store opened this week. In addition, we look forward to opening 85,000 sq ft of new space in Gateshead and Sheffield in the coming months. Our 50,000 sq ft site at Paris-Magenta has received planning permission and we anticipate the store opening before the end of 2020. Our strong and flexible balance sheet provides significant funding capacity which allows us to continue to consider strategic value accretive investments as and when they arise.
Our priority, and largest opportunity, remains the significant upside from filling the 1.7m square feet of fully invested currently unlet space in our UK, Paris and Barcelona markets. We remain confident in the future and our strong start to the year means the Company is on course to meet the Board's full year expectations."
The UK has performed strongly in the first quarter of 2020. Like for like revenue growth of 6.1% was driven by a strong occupancy performance, with like for like average rate improving as the quarter progressed and finishing the quarter 0.5% higher than the prior year. The like for like closing occupancy, as measured by sq ft occupied, was up 4.1% and like for like closing occupancy at the end of the quarter was up 2.9% at 74.0%.
Total revenue growth of 8.2% reflected the like for like growth as well as the acquisitions in 2019 of our Heathrow store and in 2020 of our St Johns Wood and Chelsea stores, along with the recent store openings in Peterborough and Birmingham Merry Hill. The UK also benefited from a full quarter contribution of management fees from our joint venture in the Netherlands which is managed by our UK team. All acquisitions and new store developments are performing in line with or ahead of their business cases.
Paris Trading Performance
Our Paris business had a good quarter, growing total revenue by 6.7%. Our new 65,000 sq ft store at Pontoise, opened in Summer 2019, is performing strongly and contributed to the total revenue figures. However, the immaturity of this store, as expected, has had a dilutive effect on the closing occupancy and the average rate.
Like for like Euro revenue grew by 5.8% in the quarter. Like for like occupancy performance was strong for the quarter with closing occupancy at 79.3%, up 2.7% compared to 2019. The like for like average rate was up 1.7%, which has shown good momentum over the course of the quarter.
During the period, planning permission for our new 50,000 sq ft store in central Paris at Boulevard Magenta was confirmed. We anticipate the store opening before the end of 2020.
Our Barcelona business was acquired on 30 December 2019 so has been part of the Group for one month at the end of Q1 2020. It is currently trading in line with its business plan.